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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Henry H Turner, Royal Field Artillery

Guest mac2014

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Guest mac2014

Good Morning,

I am currently researching my Great Grandfather, Henry H Turner, RFA, Guards Div. Ammunition col., 105156, died 12-Sep-1917. I hope to present my findings to my 100 year old grandmother this weekend and would like your help to tie up any loose ends or misunderstandings in my research.

With no surviving Service Records & Soldier's Will (via gov.uk) and little information on his MIC I turned to his regiment.

Upon reading LLT’s pages I acquired the operations he took part in and via helpful members from another member’s post - Divisional Artillery war diaries via National Archives. My grandmother believed her father was killed by ground enemy action. So to my surprise the war diaries revealed he was killed at 1:45pm by 10 enemy aircraft flying over camp dropping shells.

Canada Farm Cemetery, where he is buried, took its name from a farmhouse used as a Dressing Station/Casualty Cleaning Station at Elverdinghe (Belgium). He was probably transported to this location via Royal Army Medical Corps units third, fourth or ninth Field Ambulance. But this is only an educated guess.

In Sir Douglas Haig's "Passchendaele" Despatch under number 39, ‘The Yser Canal Crossed’ it states

On the 27th July the German forward defence system was found to be unoccupied on the northern portion of the Fifth Army front. British Guards and French troops seized the opportunity to cross the Yser Canal, and established themselves firmly in the enemy's first and support trenches on a front of about 3,000 yards east and north of Boesinghe.”

Would my great grandfather have been one of those who crossed with the British Guards?

Is there any way of knowing the date when he joined the RFA or arrived in France/Belgium?

Does his service number reveal any hidden information which I may have missed?

Is there a map of the front line around Ypres & Elverdinghe in August 1917 that I could visually show my grandmother?

Is there any other information I may have missed?

Sorry for asking so many questions. I'm new to military research and unfamiliar with military terms and operations.

Thank you for your time in this matter.


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Morning Andy

I'm not going to be much help, I'm afraid, but in regard to the map, have a look here


You can zoom into Ypres and click it then use the right hand screen to select a map

Someone with a wider knowledge on maps may be able to help further,

Good luck with your research


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Welcome to the Forum. Your Great Grandfather enlisted in Liverpool on August 17, 1915 and was given his number at No. 2 Depot RFA, Preston the following day.

He is most likely to have gone overseas from January 1916 as his medal index card does not have a reference to the 1914-15 Star.


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There is a article in the Bootle Times for H Turner , Driver, Litherland, may include a image of him This is available at Crosby Library, In Waterloo.


If you contact them they will help you get a copy of the article.

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In the 'History of the Guards Division in the Great War 1915-1918', Volume 1, by Cuthbert Headlam DSO, Headlam refers to the limited fighting being undertaken by the Guards at that time on page 266, but that their casualties still amounted to 30 Officers and 760 Other Ranks which were caused by 'incessant bombardments of the line and vigorous bombing of the camps and communications in the rear by the enemy aeroplanes'. There is a footnote to the paragraph 'During a similar raid on the 12th September the camp of the D.A.C was attacked, the casualties included 37 men and 96 animals.'



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Guest mac2014

Thank you so much for the information you have provided. I will certainly be taking a closer look at the map and Headlam's 'History of the Guards Division...' and I hope to contact Crosby library tomorrow. Thank you also for the dates - he joined earlier than I imagined.

My Grandmother will be grateful for all your help.


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as i understand it the original Guards DAC was formed from men originally designated 16th Division DAC ..posted instead to join the Guards Div.... they went to France 27th-28th Aug 1915. On the basis of his enlistment date he would have taken possibly several months training before being posted to France, probably as a replacement to the Le Havre Base, posted on the Guards DAC ... as and when replacements were required. As the war diary is not very specific on when all reinforcements were received it may be impossible to determine when he joined them .. but it it may be [?] worth checking online service records of men with similar numbers whose records may survive.. he *could* have been posted as part of a group of men enlisted together ..as a batch .. just an outside possibility ....but the Guards Division history would give the best sense of the wider activities of the DAC

no shared history with these men enlisted the same time ... .. but perhaps suggesting Jan-Feb 1916 was a likely-ish date to go to France

Samuel Eyre [105151] enlisted same time did not get to France until 21/11/1917

Edward Crofts [105152] was in France Dec 1915.. to 73rd Bty in 5th Brigade RFA Jan 1916

John Holden [105155] in France by 16/2/1916 to 77th Brigade AC

Thomas Wotham [105161] France 16/1/1916.. posted to 30th DAC

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